Tuesday, January 1, 2013



Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

Since we have entered the New Year 2013, I am writing to greet you and wish you a happy New Year, peace in the world and in your homes, progress for the Church throughout the globe, health and joy and every blessing of the Lord on young and old.

These have been days of special joy and blessing for Christians and for people everywhere. We celebrated the Nativity of our Saviour Jesus Christ “in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of King Herod”[1] over 2,000 years ago, “when Augustus reigned on the earth”.[2]

Christ’s entry into the world remains a unique event which changed the course of human history. It is of such significance that it separated history into two - B.C. and A.D. We are privileged to be living in this new period of Christian history. We are blessed to live, foster, and renew our life and our faith in Christ, to enrich it with wisdom and good works, and to be able to praise the Holy Trinity. Particularly blessed are we who hold the Faith of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”, which we confess at every Divine Liturgy.

2012 was a year full of good and historic events throughout the world, but especially in the United Kingdom, which celebrated two such events in particular.

First, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in which thousands of people from all around the globe took part; inspired by the Olympian ideals, they gave joy and satisfaction to millions of people as they watched the Games, either in person or from their televisions. It was only the third time in the history of the Games that they were held in London. I am quite certain that the Olympics inspired many young people to foster the Olympian spirit; a sense of honour and healthy competition, teamwork and solidarity, and all the beautiful ideals of athleticism.

Secondly, we celebrated with due splendour and enthusiasm the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who, together with her husband, Prince Philip and all the members of the Royal Family, has contributed enormously to the life of this country and its people. Therefore, the whole nation participated in the celebrations with pride and singular loyalty. And not only did Britain celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but all 57 countries of the Commonwealth and, indeed, much of the rest of the world.

Cyprus hosted the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which was an occasion of great interest and significant success, despite the economic crisis worsening there over the past year. It was a great honour for the people of Cyprus and its Government. I am sure that it will play a part in resolving the Cyprus problem, which lingers on 38 years after the invasion and the expulsion of 200,000 Cypriot citizens from their homes.

Meanwhile, Greece continues to be troubled by the economic crisis, but its people go on patiently and adamantly hoping for a better future. Nonetheless, and despite all the efforts being made by its Government to improve conditions, the crisis goes on unabated. But I am confident that the Leaders of the European Union will continue to endorse financial, moral and political support to Greece, in order that it may soon come out of the crisis and begin its path to recovery and posterity.

Let us begin the New Year 2013 with faith and renewed hope for peace and progress in the world, despite the economic difficulties and the political and social unrest, and particularly the violence throughout the Middle East. These problems are a scar on the face of human civilization and dignity. Yet Christ, by His Own participation in our reality, seeks to heal the sorrows which plague and wound the human body and soul, to restore the image and likeness of God in which we were made.

Fortunately, many voices throughout the world are crying out with a message of hope to fill us with optimism and faith, with an expectation of a better, more just and peaceful future. With that same hope I pray to God, Who is worshipped in Trinity, that the world may this year overcome all the troubles facing humanity today: financial problems, unemployment, poverty, crime, war, violence, religious fanaticism, and discord. Humanity must find peaceful, spiritual, moral and righteous ways of solving all these problems and healing the wounds of modern societies.

Every new year is a blessing for us, because it grants us an opportunity to start over, to put our lives in order and to restore a more spiritual basis to our lives, to cultivate reconciliation with our selves, with society and especially with God, that we may live worthy lives and redirect our present lives and our eternal futures to the will of God. The great Church Fathers, Desert Fathers, Poets, Philosopher and Seers, who have the grace to study and see the future, saw all things with a theological mind, and put their trust in God, “the only unchanging and everlasting being, the Creator of all”.[3] They did not become attached to the world and to the things of the world, but envisioned a world “made of angels”[4] and forever heading toward God’s Kingdom - a Kingdom which man dreams of, studies and builds in this life, and which is fulfilled in the true and eternal life where is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”.[5] The New Year brings with it new ideas, new dreams, and engenders new hopes, joys and expectations. Let us therefore open up our hearts with fervent prayer and faith, that the message of these days may take root there. Let us contemplate God’s will so we may partake in the creation of a new world that will transform society, will free humanity from evil and selfishness, and will embrace the love of God for all His Creation.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whose grace and blessing we have begun the New Year which we hope will be peaceful, happy and full of works that are “good and profitable for humanity”, guide the steps of young and old to the glory of the Lord of Time, and for the praise of humankind, who lives in time and fashions it by his own earthly life. And I remain with love in the Lord and esteem.

London, January 2013

Gregorios, Archbishop of
Thyateira & Great Britain

[1] Matt.2:1
[2] Hymn of the Nativity
[3] Hymn of the New Year
[4] Dionysios Solomos
[5] Rev.22:13

1 comment:

  1. This is a very encouraging New Year message. Thanks for sharing it with us. May the Lord bless you and all the Orthodox here in the UK.